MASSYS, Quentin
(b. 1465/66, Leuven, d. 1530, Antwerpen)

Peter Gillis

Oil on panel, 51 x 44 cm
Private collection

Massys painted likenesses of Erasmus of Rotterdam, Europe's foremost humanist, and Peter Gillis, an author and translator,, holding the high position of town clerk in Antwerp, to Thomas More, England's most famous author.

In this portrait, the seated Gillis is surrounded by Erasmus's writings. He embodies the humanist active in civic affaires; his wooden sandbox, alluding to his clerkship, fur-trimmed robe and covered drinking vessel discreetly indicates his worldly success.